Thursday, October 25, 2012

Capistrano Unified School DIstrict Early Retirement Plan

The following is the early retirement Plan that the Capistrano Unified School District approved at the March 28, 2012 Board Meeting Agenda Item #2.

The following link is to an article in the San Juan Capistrano Patch



Exhibit #2




































Wednesday, October 24, 2012

CUEA alters Steve Langs Campaign Flyer in October 22, 2012 CUEA Update


On October 22, 2012 CUEA sent the following update to all its members
SECOND LIE:

Second Lie: On a more recent mailer, click here, Lang states: “He [Alpay] voted for a $12 million employee golden handshake…paying for it by increasing class size.” 
The Truth: The truth is that the Supplementary Retirement Plan (SRP) cannot legally be instituted unless it is shown to save the district money. The SRP saved the district close to a million dollars this year, over and above any costs related to the (SRP) and is estimated to save an additional $2.8 million dollars over the next five years. In addition, close to 140 teachers were returned to the classroom who might not have been otherwise.
The Mailer the link connects to is shown below: 


Did CUEA altered the mailer-
The link included in the CUEA update sends readers to a mailer that includes:
Across the top: Proudly endorsed by the Republican Party! Not on the original mailer.
Endorsed by: Republican Party of Orange County, California Republican Assembly Lincoln Club of Orange County – none of these endorsements are on the original mailer.
The Second page does not even exist on the original mailer. The original mailer is shown below:
Front Side:

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Back Side:
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Steve Lang should file a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission- I do not believe that what the CUEA has done is legal or ethical.

The following is an e-mail dated January 5th, 2012 from Patricia Koch (assigned to by the Orange County Department of Education to oversee CUSD) to Wendy Benkert, Associate Superintendent, Business Services at the Orange County Department of Education.

Paragraph #2 states: 

"They are starting to negotiate with CUEA next week beginning with a possible early retirement that would be tied to class size increases. They don't have the final numbers so this option is still in the air, but it would be a good strategy for starting negotiations. He is cognizant that additional revenues to schools are going to be dependent on the tax vote in November, so that they have to solve their note prior to the election. He says that relations with the teachers' association are very good right now. (I congratulated him on making the right guess about the trigger)."

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Per CUSD's own reports the cost savings is due to not hiring replacements for the retired teachers.  In addition, CUSD will need to fund this incentive/bonus at a rate of nearly $2.5 million per year which is will probably create a cash flow problem for the district.
Disclosure Timeline: In the e-mail Ms. Koch states: “They are starting to negotiate with CUEA next week. “The date of the e-mail is January 5th, 2012. Disclosure laws require negotiations to begin only after initial proposals have been made public- For CUEA negotiations should not have started until April, 25, 2012.  
CUSD- Contract negotiations are continuous and on-going as evidenced by the fact that:
       The District pays the salary of Vicki Soderberg, President of the CUEA; but she is released from her teaching duties so that she can spend 100% of her time in the District Office advocating for the Teachers Union positions.
       The District pays the salary of Rhonda Whalen, President of the CSEA Local Chapter 224; but she is released from her normal duties so that she can spend 100% of her time in the District Office advocating for the CSEA positions.
Despite severe cuts to the budget, the Disrictt approved spending $30,000 on IBB training (Interest Based Bargaining training)- training to be a better contract negotiator. (See September 11, 2011 Board Meeting; Exhibit “D- Approval of the consultant agreement with Barber & Gonzales Consulting to provide Interest-Based Bargaining training for District and CSEA (classified) leadership for the facilitation of the negotiations process)
       In addition to having full time union representatives at the District lobbying for union positions. The Negotiating Unites for each of the employee groups meet with the District in the Closed Session of every Board of Trustees meeting. 
The Approval of the Supplementary retirement plan was voted on at the January 25, 2012 Board Meeting Agenda Item #8
On page 126 of the agenda under Financial Implications, it states:
The District anticipates savings to the general fund to be no less than $600,000 in 2012- 2013 with continued savings generated out four additional years which accounts for the full cost of the fixed annuity. The total actual savings are dependent upon the number of employees opting to participate and their respective salary levels in comparison to lower replacement cost salaries, if applicable.
Have the CUEA document where they are getting their numbers from; not from the Board Agenda?
“The SRP saved the district close to a million dollars this year, over and above any costs related to the (SRP) and is estimated to save an additional $2.8 million dollars over the next five years.”
The Board Meeting Agenda information is contained below:
 

 


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

April 26, 2010 Letter of Resignation from the PTA


Date:   April 26, 2010

To:      Lisa Scharmann- CUCPTSA President
            Kim Anderson- CUCPTSA Legislative Co- Chair
            Lori Abbott- CUCPTSA Legislative Co- Chair
            Julia Walsh - CUCPTSA Legislative Co- Chair

CC:    The Las Palmas PTA Executive Board
            Julie Hatchel (Chief Communications Officer for CUSD)
            Interim Superintendent Dr. Roberta Mahler
            Trustees
            Friends and Families of CUSD
            All Media Contacts

Re:      CUCPTSA position on PTA leader neutrality during contract disputes does not comply with the National PTA, California State PTA and the CUCPTSA Not for Profit Charter, By-Laws, Mission Statements or Advocacy Platforms. As a result, parents of CUSD have been severely handicapped in their ability to obtain information about contract issues that reflect the stated position of the PTA which is to advocate for “What is in the best interest of children”.

STATEMENT OF FACTS:

The PTA (Parent Teacher Association) is the largest volunteer child advocacy association in the nation. The National PTA’s stated mission is to be:
                          A powerful voice for all children,
                          A relevant resource for families and communities, and
                       A strong advocate for the education and well- being of every child.
As an “Advocacy Organization”, it is the PTA’s responsibility, to influence public policy and to ensure that it’s advocacy efforts reflect what is in the “best interest of children”.
The National PTA’s full mission statement can be found on the National PTA web site at the following link: http://www.pta.org/1162.asp
The California State PTA is a branch of the National PTA, serving as a connecting link between the national organization and its membership within the state of California. The California State PTA mission statement is the same as the National PTA, and can be found on the California State PTA web site at the following link: http://www.pta.org/1162.asp
The Capistrano Unified Council of PTSAs (CUCPTSA) is a branch of the California State PTA and is composed of PTA leaders from 52 CUSD schools. The stated mission of the CUPTSA is to support and speak on behalf of all children and youth in the schools, in the community and before governmental bodies and other organizations that make decisions affecting children; to assist parents in developing the skills they need to raise and protect their children; and to encourage parent and public involvement in the public schools of this nation.
The CUCPTSA mission statement can be found at the following link: http://www.cucptsa.com/
The Power of the PTA comes from Parents who trust the PTA Organization to advocate from the position of: “WHAT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF CHILDREN”.
While the PTA is not suppose to choose sides in a dispute over contract issues between the District and its Employees, the PTA has a duty and a responsibility to study contract issues, and to help influence contract negotiations so that the final contract will not be entered into without regard for the PTA perspective of: “WHAT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF CHILDREN”.
The California State PTA Tool Kit is the authoritative guide for how PTA units should conduct PTA business in order to comply with the PTA Charter, By-Laws, and Mission Statements. The Tool Kit also provides official PTA positions on issues that affect the quality of education for our children such as the issue of class size reduction.  
Throughout this entire collective bargaining process, PTA leaders have been under extreme pressure from the PTA Board to “remain neutral” in the dispute between the District and its Employees citing the California State PTA Tool Kit section 4.5.54 on page 146.  The Tool Kit can be found at the following link: http://www.capta.org/sections/resources/toolkit.cfm

The California State PTA Tool Kit is very clear and specific about the role of the PTA in Public involvement in School Governance and must be read in it’s entirety to understand the PTA’s responsibility during the collective bargaining process Section 4.5.53 Public Involvement in School Governance on page 145 of the PTA Tool Kit through page 154 including the Position Statements which follow.
Section 4.5.54 of the California State PTA Tool Kit (Page 151) states:

… PTA involvement in the collective bargaining process should be through a Public Notice Sunshine Committee. This approach will allow the PTA organization to maintain its neutral position regarding any dispute(s) that may arise, and will preclude offending any one segment of PTA membership.

A Public Notice Sunshine Committee was not set up. As a result, there has not been a voice throughout the collective bargaining process that represents the voice of “what is in the best interest of children”. As a result, parents have not had access to objective factual information that studies the contract issues from the perspective of “what is in the best interest of children”.  The tool kit further states:

“The community has a high stake in its public education system and, therefore, should be equally concerned about the negotiations which result in the final contract. While negotiations are usually conducted in private meetings between representatives of the school district and the employee group, the public must study the issues, evaluate their impact on the educational system, and know how the collective bargaining process works and how the public can fit into the process… 
When local school boards and employee groups meet at the negotiating table, the decisions made are of great importance to the quality of education provided for students. Parents and concerned community members have realized that negotiations by school employee groups such as those representing teachers, school office personnel, aides, custodians and cafeteria personnel greatly influence events in the classroom and have an impact on the overall cost of education.

It is essential that public input into this process be based on knowledge of the operations of the local school district. It is only in this way the public can become a valid part of the process and present viewpoints pertinent to the current contract or proposals,

PTA Tool Kit 4.5.54f Public Involvement in Collective Bargaining Process

According to Education Employment Relations Act (EERA), any person or representative group may comment on the issues to be negotiated or on the contract itself at any meeting of the board of education. The PTA does not advocate the inclusion or exclusion of certain clauses in the contract. PTA members should ask, however, that each clause be analyzed to determine "WHAT EFFECT THIS WILL HAVE ON ALL CHILDREN." When feasible, PTA involvement in the collective bargaining process should be through a Public Notice Sunshine Committee. This approach will allow the PTA organization to maintain its neutral position regarding any dispute(s) that may arise, and will preclude offending any one segment of PTA membership.

Section 4.5.54c GUIDELINES FOR PTAS REGARDING PUBLIC SCHOOL EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE NEGOTIATIONS

The California State PTA strongly urges all unit, council and district PTAs to closely monitor their respective school boards’ compliance with the Public Notice section of the Employer-Employee Relations Act. Unless a PTA does so, it will jeopardize its ability to make meaningful, timely comments about the initial and subsequent proposals under negotiation

Contract Study Committee

PTA has a responsibility to become knowledgeable and to inform the public about proposed contracts. To fulfill this responsibility, the following steps should be taken:

1. Form a PTA study committee including representation from all PTA units within the school district. School district employees should not serve on this study committee because they have the opportunity to express their views through their respective bargaining units.

Please Note: Where a council or district PTA relates directly to a school district, the said council or district PTA should appoint the study committee. Where a group of units or councils relates to a school district, the units or councils should appoint members to serve on a study committee.

2. The PTA criterion for any study, including collective bargaining issues, must be, “WHAT WILL BE THE EFFECT ON ALL CHILDREN?”

3. Encourage other school-based and community organizations to make their own studies of the proposed contract(s).

4. Study the current contract, the school district budget, initial contract proposals and subsequent proposals from the school board and employees’ organization.

a. Adequate lead time is essential for any group beginning to study collective bargaining proposals since several key documents should be reviewed first. The committee must react to contract issues from a position of knowledge about the current fiscal condition of the school district, and how the current agreement affects the education of students.

b. Documents to be studied:

(1) THE BUDGET — A thorough briefing on the current year’s budget is essential to understand a school district’s financial condition and how funds are being allocated. This information should be presented by school district financial staff members in a clearly understandable format. (See Resource List, EdSource.)

(2) THE CURRENT CONTRACT — Almost all school districts have an existing contract with each employee bargaining unit. While it may seem to be a complex task, it is important that time be allowed for the committee to become familiar with and knowledgeable about the current contract language. Particular attention should be paid to the interests of parents and students in the current contract.

(3) INITIAL CONTRACT PROPOSALS — When each bargaining unit’s new contract is to be negotiated, the initial proposals should be obtained from the employee group and the school district. Representatives from management and the employee groups should be invited to give their interpretations of the proposals. The language should be clear in its intent and the committee
should ask, “WHAT WILL BE THE EFFECT ON ALL CHILDREN?”
The school board must allow time for the community to study and then comment on the board’s initial proposals before adopting them as the board’s negotiating position. The PTA should find out what
the school board’s time frame is for this process.

(4) SUBSEQUENT PROPOSALS — The study committee should continue to monitor the negotiating process for the introduction of new subjects arising after the presentation of initial proposals. These subsequent proposals must be made public within 24 hours after their introduction.

The PTA Leadership should have formed a Public Notice Sunshine Committee to study contract issues and provide parents with objective information about how specific provisions will affect the quality of Education of their children at CUSD.  Parents need the PTA to be the one voice of truth – the voice that puts the best interest of children over everything else. 
Throughout the entire Fact Finding Process, there has been a “culture” on the part of the CUCPTSA to emphasize the need for PTA Leaders to “remain neutral.  The PTA did so without providing parents with any place to go for non-biased third party information about contract issues. The call to remain neutral, without the benefit of a Public Notice Sunshine Committee to present unbiased information to parents, means that parents are not making informed decisions about negotiations, and may actually be advocating against their stated interests in preserving programs like Class Size Reduction. 

In addition to failing to follow PTA guidelines throughout the collective bargaining process, the CUCPTSA also failed to stand up and advocate for stated PTA advocacy positions on issues such as class size reduction.
The PTA at all levels (National- State- Local) is explicit on its position to “advocate” for smaller class sizes. The CUCPTSA had an obligation not to be silent or “neutral” on the Fact Finders Recommendation to add two children to each class per grade as a means of balancing the districts budget. 

On April 29th, 2005, the California State PTA passed a resolution entitled: “Class Size Reduction Flexibility” directing the California State PTA to: “support a student:teacher workload that does not exceed 25 students per teacher. The resolution directed the California State PTA and its units, councils and districts to urge local school districts to work toward reducing class sizes to no more than 25 students per teacher in grades 4- 12 in academic classes. The full resolution can be found on the California State PTA web site at the following link: http://www.capta.org/sections/advocacy/downloads/A-CSRFlexibilityFINAL.pdf
The CUCPTSA Legislative Agenda for 2009-2010 states:
LOCAL  
1.  Advocate for educational programs that will contribute to the long-term success of all students in CUSD
            Advocate for the continued priority of smaller class sizes in grades K-12.
2.   Advocate for effective communication between parents, district administrators and the CUSD Board of Trustees
            Encourage opportunities for parent participation in policy development discussions that affect all students.
The full agenda can be found on the CUCPTSA web site at the following link: http://www.cucptsa.com/index.asp?scid=18
When the Fact Finding recommendations were made public, the CUCPTSA had an obligation to advocate against the Fact Finders recommendation of increasing class size in all grades by two students. They did not.
The PTA has a legal, moral and ethical obligation to up-hold its founding principals. The PTA’s failure to do so has resulted in offending many of the PTA leaders in the District and has resulted in substantial harm to the families in CUSD who have always looked to the PTA to be a voice for the children.
As a result of the actions stated above, I am no longer going to be a member of the PTA. I have resigned from all of my positions on the Las Palmas PTA Executive Board and the CUCPTSA Legislation Team. I will begin to look for other ways to remain a strong advocate for all children in CUSD.
Dawn Urbanek
CUSD Parent

Orange County Department of Education Letter Dated August 3rd acknowledging that CUSD is Deficit Spending




Monday, October 22, 2012

Did the Capistrano Unified School District Violate Public Disclosure Laws During the 2012- 2013 Collective Bargaining Process?

Public Disclosure laws are intended to ensure that the "Public be informed of the issues that are being negotiated upon and have full opportunity to express their views on the issues to the public school employer, and to know of the positions of their elected representatives." (see California Government Code Section 3547)

During tough economic times; when the interests of employee groups are at odds with those of the students, district finances and the collective bargaining process take on special importance.

Should the decision of how cuts are made really be negotiated behind closed doors?  As a parent, I say no. Our children will have one opportunity to attain the skills necessary to compete with their piers in the rest of the world. Children in the Capistrano Unified School District will have to graduate and compete with students from around the world. How are our children going to compete when they have less days in school, less instructional minutes per day, larger class sizes and minimal programming? The answer is they cannot.

When disclosure laws are complied with, interested parents have an opportunity to influence Trustees (the adults at the collective bargaining table who were elected to represent the interests of students). When disclosure laws are not complied with, what is left is a group of adults conspiring to maximizing employee compensation with no regard to how that affects the education of children in the district. The 2012-2013 Budget and Employee Contracts that Trustees approved on June 27th, 2012 are so one sided, that I made a formal request to the Orange County District Attorney to review the collective bargaining process to see if the Capistrano Unified School District complied with public disclosure laws. The following is a time line that follows the CUSD collective bargaining process and compares that to the requirements of California Government Code Section 3547.




It should be noted that California Government Code Section 3547(d) states that: "New subjects of meeting and negotiating arising after the presentation of initial proposals shall be made public within 24 hours. If a vote is taken on such subject by the public school employer, the vote thereon by each member voting shall also be made public within 24 hours. "

The June 5th CUEA Bargaining Up-date references negotiation up-dates for May 25th, 2012 and May 31st 2012 that were never made public by the Capistrano Unified School District. To date the MOU's from the Tentative Agreement between CUSD and CUEA approved on June 12, 2012  have never been made public?
In response to a request for public records, the District provided a list of "over 25 budget presentations to employee organization leaders, staff members, parents and the public." which was suppose to document the public's involvement in the collective bargaining process. Only three of the listed meetings were open to the public. Except for regularly scheduled board meetings all the Public could only participate in three of the presentations- all of the rest were presentations to employee groups or in private meetings not open to the public- see below:



Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Election of School Board Trustees Does Matter!

The community has a high stake in our public education system. The negotiations by school employee groups such the Capistrano Unified Education Association (CUEA) representing teachers, The California School Employees Association (CSEA) representing classified employees, the Teamsters and Unrepresented Employees (CUMA) greatly influence events in the classroom and have an impact on the overall cost of education. When local school boards and employee groups meet at the negotiating table, the decisions made are of great importance to the quality of education provided for students. Negotiations are usually conducted behind closed doors, in private meetings between representatives of the school district and its employee groups. As such, the public must rely on Trustees to negotiate on behalf of the students in the district. Trustee's have a fiduciary duty to represent the interests of students at the collective bargaining table.

District Finances and the Collective Bargaining Process take on special importance during tough economic times when the interests of employee groups are at odds with those of the students. 

The budget that Trustees vote to adopt reflect the priorities of the school district.

The Capistrano Unified School District has cut $150 million dollars from its budget since 2006 (a 31% decrease). Revenue projections for the next two years include target budget reductions of an additional $103.5 million -  $52.5 million for 2013- 2014 and $51 million for 2014- 2015.

Public Disclosure of the 2012-2013 Adopted Budget June 27th, 2012 Board Meeting Agenda Item #5 Page 18.130
Public Disclosure of the 2012-2013 Adopted Budget June 27th, 2012 Board Meeting Agenda Item #5 Page 18.133


Section "F" states "Negotiated settlements were reached for 2012- 2013 to reduce salaries and increase class size. These settlements were for one year. Adjustments reflect ending of the agreement."

Note: When a School District Files a "Qualified Budget" The District is required to show a balanced budget for the current year and two subsequent years. An adjustment entry to re-open negotiations 
in one year does not meet that obligation. CUSD does not appear to be in compliance with California Education Code Sections 42130-42134. 

A majority of the incumbent Trustees have voted to borrow money, use furlough days, class size increases and program cuts to balance the budget rather than ask employees to take a salary reduction.  Trustees voted to cut the 2012- 2013 school year from 180 days to 165 days. Cuts are accelerating. Without a change in a majority of the Board of Trustees, should CUSD parents continue to expect a 160 day school year, growing class sizes, and minimal programs for many years to come. Is this the new norm?
 

Who You Elect as Trustee Does Matter!

Attend the Trustee Debate and make an informed decision.

Date: Thursday, Oct. 25 
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Place: San Juan Capistrano Community Center,  25925 Camino Del Avion in San Juan Capistrano.
 

Although the candidates are running for individual geographic territories known as trustee areas, the debate will cover all four races. 

The voters impacted are:
    •    Trustee Area No. 1: Dana Point, Capistrano Beach and parts of San Juan Capistrano
    •    Trustee Area No. 2: Ladera Ranch, Coto de Caza and parts of San Juan Capistrano
    •    Trustee Area No. 3: San Clemente
    •    Trustee Area No. 5: Aliso Viejo
 

This will be an authentic debate, not just a candidate’s forum. The candidates will not know the questions in advance. Candidates may have up to two minutes to answer the questions, and others may have a one-minute rebuttal.
 

Patch Local Editor Penny Arévalo will moderate the debate.